I am usually a peace loving person. Call it a throwback to my youth in the sixties. Yet if the carnage of last week didn’t prove it to me, the carnage from this week did. I have changed. In fact, I will have to repaint my whole house this fall to get rid of the evidence of this summer’s mass slaughter of mosquitoes on its walls. Red streaks are everywhere. Tiny screams of death can be heard echoing throughout the universe.
Each night before I go to bed, I do battle with these mighty warriors. I wander through my house looking for the telltale dark speck on the wall. When I see it, my heart races, my pupils dilate, every nerve goes on alert. I nonchalantly approach the target. Let the speck think, for just a moment longer, that it has the upper hand. Then, just when it settles into complacency, thinking of all the fun it will have with me while I sleep, I pounce. I slap it so hard I’m surprised there aren’t holes in my walls near each blood splatter.
Of course, the fact that the walls are blood splattered means I may be losing some of the battles since I’m figuring most of that blood is mine. But at least they are made to pay the ultimate price for their small moment of glory.
This is the first time I’ve ever had to wear mosquito netting as well as Deet inside my house. Anchorage has turned into a city under siege. Every time I open the door to let my dog in or out, a mosquito squadron swarms in under my radar. I don’t know they’re there until I look around at the walls and see that they look like I painted them with black polka dots.
Since my dog is 15, he doesn’t exactly move quickly in or out of the door. I’ll get him right up to the doorway and make sure he’s actually bothered to wake up from his nap and isn’t sleep walking before I open the door. And still he stands there staring stupidly at the open doorway till I give him a gentle nudge in his butt with my foot to remind him what he’s doing there.
Coming in presents the same problem. I’ll open the door and call him. He’ll give me that blank stare I’ve grown to dread. It either means his eyes are so bad he’s not sure where the voice is coming from or his hearing is so bad he’s not sure he heard anything. Or, more likely, he heard and saw but chooses not to respond right at that moment.
Either way, my house fills with mosquitoes that think they’ve won the jackpot. A warm house and a juicy human all in one place. What more could a mosquito ask for?
I knew the battle had reached a whole new level of intensity one day when I was on my daily dog walk. I found four mosquitoes on my arms watching intently as I swung my arms wildly about my head to beat off the ones buzzing around my ears. They seemed very interested in the demonstration of insanity by the woman whose blood they were ingesting. I wonder if they were worried that maybe I wasn’t the best genetic bet they could have made in choosing a suckee.
I don’t know what we did as a city to so anger the mosquito gods this year but I think our leaders need to take some action before we see small children being carried off by organized squadrons of these blood suckers. If that means that Mark Begich has to dance around a fire in a loincloth while chanting and baying at the sun, then so be it. No one said being the mayor of Anchorage was an easy job and no one ever promised him it might not include a little voodoo if that’s what it takes to lift the siege.
In Barrow, the sun would come back in the spring and the temperature would drop even lower than it had been in winter. You walked out into it and froze your tushie off after just five steps. You quickly learned that the sun, while fun to look at, did not bring warmth and joy.
Here in Anchorage, the sun comes back and we all throw off our winter layers and race out the door, ready to raise our faces to its life giving warmth. Only it turns out we can’t see the sun through the swarm of mosquitoes that have attached themselves to every exposed part of our bodies.
Either way, it seems that Alaskans are doomed to view their sunny world from inside their bloodied bunkers. Courage, my friends. Winter can’t be far away.